“Gets Us All In the End” by Jeff Beck
(Words/Music: Arthur Baker and Tina B., Album: Flash, Epic Records 1985)
I originally purchased this cassette in the late 80s because of the hit song “People Get Ready” which reunited Jeff Beck with Rod Stewart. What I heard was an album full of tremendous songs by a guitarist I admired more with every song I heard. I would eventually purchase many of Beck’s classic works from the 70s like Truth, Blow By Blow and Wired, his early work with The Yardbirds, and his guest appearances on albums by Roger Waters and Imogen Heap. Whether playing slow blues/jazz instrumentals like his versions of “Greensleeves” or “Cause We’ve Ended Up As Lovers” or just outright shredding on “Gets Us All in the End” or the Roger Waters album Amused to Death, he maintains his distinctive sound and tastefully brilliant phrasing. There is a very definitive “Jeff Beck Sound” and, try as they may, no one else can copy it.
Backed by longtime collaborators Jan Hammer on keyboards and Carmine Appice on drums, the song begins by announcing with the opening notes that guitar will dominate. While the 80s new wav-ish background serves as a playground on which Beck can cut loose, the lyrics almost seem like an afterthought: the guitar is what everyone is listening for. There aren’t many more songs in his canon to this point which feature the outright assault he attacks his listeners with on this song. He plays his signature melodic phrasing, abuses his whammy bar, and plays some of the fastest and cleanest runs I have ever heard. One of the greatest attributes of Beck’s playing is his ability to create an absolutely chaotic sounding lead while staying in complete control. He knows his guitar and its limitations and pushes himself and the instrument as far as anyone ever has. While you may only know him as a jazz-fusion guitarist, or a guest artist at every star-studded concert, one listen to this song should convince you that he has mastered the art of the shred as well.